Giambattista Valli x H&M: 7 Minutes with Giambattista Valli and Ann-Sofie Johansson on the collab
November is here and you know what that means—H&M's yearly designer collab collection is set to hit stores and find their way into your wardrobes. For 2019, the Swedish retailer teamed up with Italian designer Giambattista Valli, marking it as Valli's first collaboration with H&M and the latter's first venture teaming up with a renowned couturier. It's a bountiful of firsts this season as it also paved the way for a separate pre-collection that launched earlier this May. As the main collection hits stores on 7 November, we got a chance to quiz the designer himself Giambattista Valli and Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M's Creative Advisor on what to expect for this year's collab collection.
1. What was your experience foraying into menswear for the first time and the inspiration behind
GV: I approached it in reverse. Instead of having women borrow pieces from the men's wardrobe, as it usually happens, I explored the idea of men taking pieces, patterns and fabrics from the women's wardrobe. The choice of baby pink as the basic colour - the simplest tee in the collection is pink, not white - says it all. The collection is a selection of timeless items meant to be mixed and matched according to personal style. There are animal patterns, flower motifs, punk allure and military glamour... it is an eclectic vision of masculine style. The Valli Boy is a bohemian cosmopolitan globetrotter who wears the traces of what he has seen and collected all around. Decidedly whimsical, and eccentric and he gladly breaks the rules.
2. What was the Giambattista Valli x H&M collaboration experience like?
GV: I was extremely happy that this collaboration would allow me to share my love for beauty with an even broader audience and make the biggest number of people happy wearing my creations for their special moments in life. I loved creating beautiful, extraordinary pieces for the Valli Boys and Girls around the world and I am excited at the idea that they will be able to afford and collect something so unique, with the distinct silhouette that defines the DNA of Giambattista Valli.
AJ: Giambattista Valli has created a collection that is an eclectic recap of his signature styles with pieces designed to last and be loved over time. They are beautiful and well-crafted - spanning both womenswear and menswear - but also effortless and timeless. There's a wonderful high-low mix of partywear, for example, and more streetwear-inspired garments, which ultimately act as a full wardrobe for different occasions. Giambattista Valli's work is obviously amazingly crafted, but what I admire most is how well-thought out it all is. From the pure design skill, expertise with fabrics and embellishment and colour palettes to the personal touches, Giambattista Valli is a very hands-on designer and gets
excited by details. So it was equally exciting, fascinating and inspiring to work with him on that.
3. What are the key materials and design techniques that were used to make this collab?
AJ: Key design details include strong silhouettes, embellishment and ruffles. But what really makes this particular collaboration unique is the very personal details included in the collection, such as Giambattista's own lips on a belt, shoes and jewellery and a replica of the pearl necklace he is
never seen without. As for my personal favourites, it's always hard to choose, but my heart does beat a little faster for the maxi-length black floral tulle dress with the jewelled neckline, ruffled details and poet sleeves.
4. There are constant heart and ‘love' motifs throughout the collection. Can you tell us more about that?
GV: "Love" is written in my handwriting on garments or even my lips are on accessories because the goal of my collaboration with H&M is to share my love for beauty and to be able to be part of everyone's "happy times", to help create love stories all around the world. I also thought that if the customer wanted Giambattista Valli, they could really have something belonging to me personally - to create a relationship with the customer, a certain intimacy. For example, there's a version of my signature pearl necklace and a pair of sunglasses modelled after my personal
5. Do you have a favourite from the collection?
GV: I love every single piece of the collection. To me, they feel like unique collector pieces rather than throw-away garments produced based on trends. They are timeless and meant to be kept in one's wardrobe, to mix and match to the customer's personal style, embracing their personality.
I truly treasure the span of offering and the variety of pieces from this collection: from street and daywear to evening and party looks, customers can enjoy the world of Giambattista Valli.
6. Which items do you think will fly off the shelves first?
AJ: For the womenswear, the dresses are obviously important and the most recognisable item from Giambattista Valli's oeuvre so they will most likely do well, but the outerwear is just as spectacular and jewellery is pretty special, too. For the menswear, the tailored blazers are key as are the embellished jersey pieces, and the fine knitwear. I also imagine women and men will be buying from both collections, just as Giambattista Valli intended!
View the full collection below:
The Giambattista Valli x H&M collection will launch on 7 November 2019 and will be available at H&M Lot 10, and hm.com